Ex-Bear Sam Hurd freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas
Sam Hurd, seen here making a play earlier this season, was arrested in Rosemont, Illinois, on drug charges this week.
December 16th, 2011
08:03 PM ET

Ex-Bear Sam Hurd freed on $100,000 bond as drug case heads to Texas

[Updated at 8:03 p.m. ET] Sam Hurd was released on a $100,000 cash bond late Friday afternoon.

His case will now be handled by the federal court for the Northern District of Texas. Hurd waived his probable cause hearing so his case will move to a grand jury, which will decide whether to indict him, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sean Jensen, an NFL Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, told CNN that the Chicago Bears organization was blindsided by the arrest of one of the most "cordial, friendly and accountable" players in the clubhouse.

"Everybody throughout this building is shocked by this revelation the other day. The team didn't know anything of it until Thursday morning when Sam Hurd wasn't in the usual receiver meeting. That's when they started asking around and figuring out what happened," Jensen said.

[Posted at 3:49 p.m. ET] A judge granted Sam Hurd a $100,000 bail in a federal drug case that alleges the ex-Chicago Bears receiver conspired to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth or mairjuana and cocaine for distribution in the Chicago area, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Judge Young B. Kim set the bail amount Friday afternoon hearing in federal court, where Hurd appeared in an orange prison jumpsuit with his feet chained together, the paper reported.

Hurd looked to the gallery, where his father and wife, Stacee, sat, as he entered the courtroom, the paper said. He spoke only to say “Yes, sir” to Kim’s questions.

[Posted at 3:23 p.m. ET] Bears GM Jerry Angelo announces the team has cut player Sam Hurd.

In defending their signing of Hurd, "We did everything we know to do in terms of our research, and there was nothing we heard that would present a real concern in the Sam Hurd case. ... We are very shocked about what we heard."

[Posted at 2:42 p.m. ET] Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is set to appear in court to request bail Friday afternoon, two days after a federal agent said he picked up a kilo of cocaine at a steakhouse, according to CNN affiliates.

Hurd’s arrest stunned players and reporters who know him, and it seems they’re not so much in disbelief over the arrest of a professional athlete on drug charges as they are over how the criminal complaint makes this seemingly swell fellow out to be the “Freeway” Ricky Ross of the Chi-town.

According to the complaint, Hurd, 26, whose base salary was $685,000 this year, met with a confidential informant and federal agent at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Rosemont, Illinois, on Wednesday.

There, the complaint says, he told the pair that he and another person were running 4 kilograms of cocaine into the Chicago area each week, but his supplier couldn’t keep up. He then allegedly worked out a deal to receive 5 to 10 kilograms of coke (at $25,000 apiece) and half a ton of marijuana (at $450 a pound) per week.

For the math-challenged, that’s a minimum of $575,000 worth of drugs. Every week.

After the negotiations, the undercover Homeland Security agent gave Hurd a kilogram of cocaine, according to the complaint, and Hurd told the agent “that he gets out of practice at approximately 5:30 p.m., after which he would make arrangements to pay for the kilogram of cocaine.”

The married father of one and ex-Dallas Cowboy then got into his car with the drugs and was promptly arrested, the complaint alleges.

His attorney, David Kenner, told several news outlets that his client was innocent, explaining to ABC News, “Sam intends to fight these charges, and we intend to defend him fully. We have complete confidence in him.”

A law enforcement source told a Chicago radio station, 670 The Score, that Hurd was a top drug dealer in the Windy City and that police had a list of other NFL players to whom he sold drugs. The station offered few details, other than to quote the source as saying that the number of players involved was “in the double digits.”

ABC News reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, which would neither confirm nor deny the radio report. A representative said only that the criminal complaint leveled no such allegation.

'Well-liked in the locker room'

It seems anyone who has ever interviewed or played with Hurd is stunned. Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who has been coaching the 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver since July, when he signed with Chicago, called the arrest a “total surprise.”

Linebacker Lance Briggs told Chicago's Herald-News that Hurd was a “nice guy” and was “well-liked in the locker room.” Fellow all-pro linebacker Brian Urlacher added that Hurd was a friendly fellow who always said "hi" in the hallway.

“He’s a good teammate. That’s what I know of him. He comes to work every day and works hard. Outside of here, I don’t know him very well, but he comes to work every day and practices hard and plays hard. That’s all I know of him,” Urlacher told The Herald-News.

Joe Novak, the former coach for Northern Illinois University, where Hurd played from 2002 to 2005, told the newspaper he was “shocked, disappointed that things even come to this point.”

He added, “He was a great player. He really loved to practice and play the game. That was never a problem. He was a little immature at times, but that usually involved academics, where he needed a push and a prod.”

Hurd's former Cowboys teammates were reticent with The Dallas Morning News, but privately they told a reporter that Hurd, who married his college sweetheart (they had a daughter last year), is one of the last people they would expect to be linked to this sort of activity.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Potash said Hurd had recently gone above and beyond in an interview, explaining to Potash some of his teammates’ frustration with the offense. The interview extended past the mandatory player availability time, but Hurd didn’t seem to mind.

“But that's the kind of guy Sam Hurd is ... or was,” Potash wrote. “I've never met an athlete who was more happy to be alive.”

Sometimes Potash would tell Hurd that there was no way he could be as happy as he always looked, “and he would smile and say something about getting only one shot at life and making the most of it,” the reporter wrote.

Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN had a similar impression of Hurd, a man Taylor said had Scripture tattooed on his ribcage and often visited Taylor’s South Dallas church.

Late last season, Taylor heard him singing a gospel song in the Cowboys locker room. His crooning was off-key, “as usual,” and Taylor teased him.

Hurd responded, “God don’t care about your voice as long as you’re praising him,” Taylor wrote.

Taylor said Hurd was “one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet,” a guy he never heard curse, who had an incredible work ethic, who enjoyed video games and constantly picked teammate Terrell Owens’ brain for tips on how to get better.

“Of all the players I've met in 17 seasons of covering the Cowboys, Hurd never, ever would've popped up on my radar as an alleged drug dealer,” Taylor wrote. “Read the government’s affidavit, and the person described sounds nothing like the Hurd I've known since he arrived at the Cowboys' training camp in July 2006 as an undrafted free agent. That guy was a shy, likable, confident player who dedicated himself to making the team.”

Complaint paints different picture

Indeed, the criminal complaint makes Hurd sound more like a wannabe drug kingpin than a God-loving workhorse and all-around good guy.

According to the account from Homeland Security Special Agent George Ramirez, the case began in late July, during Hurd’s last days as a Dallas Cowboy.

A confidential informant told an agent in Dallas that an alleged associate of Hurd's, identified only as T.L., was trying to procure several kilograms of cocaine. The informant coordinated a meet in Dallas, and when T.L. neared the location, the Dallas County constable pulled him over for a routine traffic stop.

T.L. consented to a search of the car, the complaint says, and the officer found a white bag covered in marijuana containing $88,000. T.L., according to the complaint, said the money was Hurd’s.

He further explained that he had known Hurd for a long time and that he worked on his cars out of a repair shop in nearby Coppell. It wasn’t uncommon, he said, for Hurd to leave “large amounts of currency in his vehicles,” the complaint alleges.

Hurd later used T.L.’s phone to call Homeland Security agents and said the 88 grand was his, according to the agent’s statement.

On July 28, Hurd met Homeland Security agents and allegedly told them he had withdrawn and wired the money from a personal account three days prior, before putting the bag of money into the car and giving the keys to T.L. for maintenance work and detailing.

“Hurd subsequently provided (Homeland Security) agents with a bank statement that reflected withdrawals. However, a review of this statement revealed they did not reflect the transactions and amounts claimed by Hurd,” the complaint states.

In mid-August, the complaint continues, T.L. set up a deal with the informant for 5 kilograms of cocaine and arranged to meet after hours at a Firestone shop where he worked. The following day, police in Denton, Texas, informed Homeland Security that Hurd and T.L. had exchanged text messages with four people in California who had been arrested with drugs, money and guns.

“The text message content appeared to be consistent with narcotics trafficking and possible money laundering,” the complaint says.

On September 9, T.L. and the informant discussed a deal for 5 kilograms of cocaine, and T.L. allegedly said Hurd’s cousins would complete the transaction, according to the complaint. It’s unclear from the affidavit what came of the deal.

T.L. and the informant spoke again via telephone December 5, and T.L. said Hurd wanted to meet with the informant to discuss future business. The next day, the informant and T.L. met at a repair shop in Coppell, where T.L. called Hurd and gave the phone to the informant.

Hurd allegedly told the informant he would send his associates to Dallas. According to the complaint, Hurd first said he wanted 3 kilograms before changing it to 5.

After the call, T.L. explained how the deal would be conducted and said Hurd’s previous connection had supplied the wide receiver with $100,000 to $200,000 worth of narcotics a week, the complaint says.

The informant called Hurd two days later to say the cocaine wasn’t available, and Hurd said he wanted to discuss other business with the informant, according to the complaint. Hurd allegedly met with the informant and undercover agent at the steakhouse the following week, where, ABC News reports, they ate $300 worth of filet mignon.

Hurd told the informant and agent that his co-conspirator did the majority of the deals and that he “focuses on the ‘higher-end’ deals” before asking about Mexican mobile phones, which he believed police could not tap, according to the complaint.

The cocaine exchange and arrest followed.

What's next for Bears receiver

Hurd appeared in court Thursday, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Young Kim ordered that he remain in custody while his attorney works out with prosecutors the details of his release on bond, the Chicago Tribune reported.

If he is guilty of the single charge of possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute, he could go to prison for 40 years and pay a $2 million fine, News Talk 790 AM in Lubbock, Texas, reports.

But this isn’t his only legal woe. The Tribune reports that authorities plan to transfer Hurd to Dallas to face a count of conspiring to distribute more than half a kilogram of cocaine.

It’s unclear if the charges would affect his playing time. He told reporters Thursday he was still a Bear, “as far as I know.”

The Bears are fighting for a wildcard spot in a tight NFC Playoff race, and though Hurd has only eight catches for 109 yards this season, he contributes in other ways. He has long been a special teams force, leading the Cowboys in special teams tackles in 2009 and 2010.

Bears special teams coach Dave Toub told the Tribune, “He's the captain of our punt team. It's going to take a little bit to replace him. We're all shocked, just leave it at that.”

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Football • Illinois • Marijuana • Pro football • Sports • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (581 Responses)
  1. Molar Moore

    Innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land. If he is found guilty he will pay the price.....but till then he has to work for the money the Bears have paid him so far..........so he must play unless they feel otherwise............

    December 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Majestic_Lizard

      He didn't steal pot or cocaine. He just sold it. That makes him a businessman.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Mr. Molar Moore has made a very important point. This article is very one-sided. Mr. Hurd is innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is upon the state.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • UScOlLaPsE

      "He didn't steal pot or cocaine. He just sold it. That makes him a businessman."

      Yep... Just like the big banks that turn a blind eye to their many dubious accounts set up to laundry drug money.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadenufyet

      Innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land...that's the rumor anyway , fact is , your going to jail till proven innocent.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J

    Blacks are uncanny in their ability to squander every opportunity that comes their way. The thuggery in the NFL and the NBA is a glaring example of their arrogance. It's pathetic. These people are not role models yet young people still look up to them as such. It's just another sad chapter for our nation in decline.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason Reed

      Racists such as yourself should not be allowed to procreate. Good day sir.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alicia

      I cannot tell if you are just trolling or if you really are that stupid.Sadly, some people are so ignorant/racist as to imply that all blacks and no whites commit crimes.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Gimme a break...Chicago Black Sox banned from sports, all white. Babe Ruth & Mickey Mantle womanizers and boozer, both white. Pete Rose etc......World's not coming to an end. Bigotry like yours is.!

      December 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skin alive every racist

      F**ck you, hillbilly racist.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • NBBAD

      I guess that 'blacks' are the only ones that 'squander' their opportunity or their money? What planet do you live on?

      December 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      It's not a black thing, it's a greed thing.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coexist2011

      At least they are not molesting little boys in showers and covering it. That's all your people I guess

      December 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam


      As a black man, I want to say that I am 100% in agreement with you! It used to upset me so much when I would hear comments like yours, because I felt that it was an unfair blanket generalization of blacks, but the more these types of stories appear, the more valid the statement becomes. I have come to accept that while these thugs do not represent the black race as a whole, there is a certain subset of the black race that is littered with these kinds of people, and guess what.. these same people are all generally gifted athletes. It's a genre, when I look at groups like OBAP (Organization of Black Pilots) I would EXPECT that these are generally decent people..not because they are black..but because pilots usually have their heads screwed on tight (except for the occasional drunk), but when I see a young black man, that grew up impoverished, and has tattoos covering a good portion of his body, bopping his head to rap music, and playing professional sports.. I expect that a high percentage of them will be prone to nefarious activities.

      In my opinion he deserves that the book and the kitchen sink be thrown his way for his stupidity let alone his evident greed.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • UScOlLaPsE

      I must be really tough find to work having such a low IQ.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blue Steel

      Yeah well we all have our vice's dont we Black guys with the drug thing and White guys with raping the kids.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • elizabethbennett

      [Yeah well we all have our vice's dont we Black guys with the drug thing and White guys with raping the kids.


      did you mean, "White guys" like, say, Michael Jackson? those kid-raping white guys?

      December 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |

    The following day, police in Denton, Texas, informed Homeland Security that Hurd and T.L. had exchanged text messages with four people in California who had been arrested with drugs, money and guns.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jason Reed

    Why are people turning this into a race thing? What difference does it make what race he is? I can't stand racists... focus on the issue please. A guy with a great (temporary) income, and i say temporary b/c he would have been out of the league in a few years, wanted to invest his income into something illegal as hell where he could more than double his money and set himself up for a post-NFL "career." And he got caught. Just like any other drug dealer.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Mr. Reed is very correct. Race is not an issue here.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mfx3

    He'll rat out a few of his contacts, spend a year or two in prison, come back to the NFL and make millions. Meanwhile upstanding citizens will take more pay cuts and be told to suck it up.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      You got that right. Look at Michael Vick.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. a disaster!

    was the rest of the bears involved? how many are using drugs?

    December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bonju

    why is everyone so shocked. This dude is black and the NBA is just another organization that hires black men who are destined for jail but are sidetracked for awhile (LIKE OJ SIMPSON) by actually working for a living and making 9 digit salaries which they don't keep and eventually wind up in jail. Getting so that maybe we, as a society should just put black boys into jail to grow up and let them out when they reach 18. They may never want to return is my idea.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason Reed

      Hey Troll, get the sport correct... its NFL, not NBA.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • NBBAD

      You obviously were one of Sam Hurd's most devoted customers and it must be a quality product for you to say some nonsense like this.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coexist2011

      As long as I know and can see that you and those of the same ilk are slowly becoming extinct, I sleep well at night.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myname

      Being black has nothing to do with this. So to say put all black boys in jail until they are 18 is the most stupidest thing I have ever heard. Not all black men or boys get into trouble. Society as a whole are greedy and selfish. He was being greedy and saw an easy way to make money, which I agree is not the way to do it. My son is biracial and to say lock him up because he is black is WRONG. I pray that my son will grow up to be a respectful, honest, hard working man, but I know he will make his own decisions when he is out of the house. America does need more men period to be good influences on young boys, but especially black men need to step up.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Roger Ogilivy Thornhill

    Impossible! Sports figures are our heroes! They are all role models and perfect citizens.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |

    The look he has in the picture on the home page is probably the same look he had when he got arrested. Too funny.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jubril


    December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chuck

    Fellow all-pro linebacker Brian Urlacher added that Hurd was a friendly fellow who always said "hiGH" in the hallway.

    Fixed that for you.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. T

    This guy could get 40 years and murderers, rapists and child molesters get less everyday. Not condoning his behavior but the priorities of the legal system are f'd.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Majestic_Lizard

    As long as he didn't STEAL that pot and cocaine, HE IS A GOOD GUY.

    Wake up, you sheep.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Supply & demand. The American way.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Coolio the Unroolio

    If you want to "score" give Sam Hurd a call. He's always focused on the "goal" line. His favorite route was the snort-and-go. His biggest customer: Lindsay Lohan. His former biggest customer: Amy Winehouse. His role model: Lawrence Taylor. His future: will play "tight end" the first day in the slammer but will go back to "wide receiver" by the next morning. He'll become an expert in catching balls with his chin.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IgorNance

    STOP offputting the story with these HILARIOUS photographs! Did anyone see the last one? It's insane.

    Also I love this headline: Legal process carried out properly for minority dealing drugs. BREAKING NEWS, truly worthy of the amber background that assaulted my Google homepage.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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